The Importance of Integrity

The problem when you discover someone lacks, or something has been cobbled together with no integrity is that you never get the ability to fully trust again.

I work with a program at work that has failed the integrity test every single time it has been tested. The most recent was that their program somehow corrupted or created incorrect data. This isn’t the first time this type of thing has happened, and sadly, it won’t be the last. In the 8 months I have worked here, maybe two have passed, not consecutively, that the data pulled from their program hasn’t been flawed in some way.

Currently, there are numerous issues with the data in their system. It all started at the same time, and when brought to their attention, it miraculously was correct 6 hours later, to which they sent an email, not informing us that the errors had been fixed, but that they are able to pull the correct data and are we “sure it wasn’t an error on our part?”

This has been their answer for 99% of the issues we have had with their program. We find an issue, bring it to them, they go silent for 6 – 24 hours, then they reply saying they aren’t getting the same issue, and that maybe we are doing something wrong. Every. Single. Time.

It is gaslighting at its very core. The attempt to make us think we are doing something wrong when we have done nothing more than pull the info from their program is gross. I am all about accountability. If I even had thought it was an error I could have potentially made, I wouldn’t have brought it to their attention. I rule out my own errors to avoid it coming back at me. I also have taken certain actions to avoid doing things that could be considered user error. I am very conscientious about making sure it is an actual issue, and I’ve taken all actions to assure that I was not at fault.

This is why it is so hard to trust after integrity has been broken. When are you willing to believe? When are you willing to give another chance?

This situation isn’t just exclusive to companies trying to keep their shaky reputation. This applies to every relationship you have with other people and things. You stop believing they will perform in accordance with what you expect. Expectations go out the window, as does security. It can extend to numerous things in conjunction with your relationship.

This is why being accountable, responsible, and willing to admit mistakes is important. Relationships rely on these things in ways that no one can truly fully comprehend until they are no longer present.

I have an old friend who has been married for about 20 years. His wife cheated on him on numerous occasions with the same person. His trust has been severely compromised because of her actions. I have asked him why his wife is so unwilling to talk about her past, her interests, and her life as it relates to him. He says he doesn’t know that he has tried to open these conversations with her, but she refuses to respond in a way that helps.

I found this odd since he seems to hold no real judgment, other than maybe something being unusual. However, as we have talked, and I have learned some of his very antiquated and privileged existence, I have mentioned things that he believes or follows that are not just bad but potentially harmful. It is during these times that he suddenly exaggerates what I’m trying to tell him, becoming a weird kind of martyr, claiming that I am saying things I never said. I correct him, reminding him that I never said what he is now accusing me of, nor would I ever say that and to not project that onto me. But it is consistent and happens every time when I say something he thinks, says, or does has negative connotations or implications to others.

It is his behavior that made me realize the reason his wife doesn’t talk to him about the things she needs to. If she even suggests he is in the wrong, that suggestion becomes far bigger and worse than it is because he blows it out of proportion. He systematically made it unattractive and undesirable to talk to him about relationship issues and problems. It doesn’t justify cheating, but if she has felt so unable to discuss reasonably her feelings, then I can see how she would be quiet around him, refuse to have those conversation and find someone else who is more willing to listen.

She broke his trust, but I have to ask, did he break hers first? Did he inadvertently make her close down because he can not take honest critique of himself? Was his integrity shattered by his refusal to listen and find a mutual space when discussing things that directly relate to him? I suspect so. I also know I can never explain this to him because, once again, he will exaggerate the information, claiming that I am blaming him for every bad thing that ever happened in his relationship. No one wants to deal with that behavior. Not a friend, not a wife. His unwillingness to listen only leads to more resentment, unwillingness to communicate, and loss of connection.

I know this blog twists a bit, but these situations always make me realize just how important one’s integrity is so important and necessary as we deal with others. It changes every single playing field. It shows others that we respect them and value their perception of us in that capacity. It strengthens relationships, makes the connections more meaningful, and promotes healthy boundaries, standards, and expectations.

For the record, looking back at the source files I talked about at the start, I might have made an error, and the company could be correct. I don’t know how I could have ever made that error, if I did, but for now, I will give that situation a benefit of doubt and move on willing to say I might have been culpable of the error. That is how we grow as people, after all.

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